Picture: REUTERS
Picture: REUTERS

Eskom has appointed long-time Eskom employee Bheki Nxumalo to head its critical power generation business.

Nxumalo, a registered engineer, joined Eskom as a senior technician in 1996 and has more than 20 years experience in various positions in Eskom’s generation business, the utility said in a statement on Wednesday.

He will now take up the role of group executive of generation from July 1.

Severe operational issues at Eskom came to the fore earlier this year when, for the first time, the utility instituted stage 4 load-shedding, wreaking havoc on the SA economy and contributing to a 3.2% contraction in GDP growth in the first three months of 2019.

Eskom said inadequate maintenance of its ageing fleet of coal-fired power stations was behind the frequent unplanned outages.

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Nxumalo held the roles of production manager and maintenance manager at Lethabo and Hendrina power stations and later become power station manager at the Grootvlei and Matimba power stations and project manager at Kusile power station. In 2017 he took up an acting position as CEO of Eskom Rotek Industries, a wholly owned Eskom subsidiary that provides maintenance, construction and transportation services to the utility.

“Mr Nxumalo’s appointment strengthens Eskom’s executive structure and provides impetus to our technical plans of achieving operational efficiency,” outgoing CEO Phakamani Hadebe said in the statement.

“Generation is a critical portfolio within Eskom and we are happy that the successful candidate is from within Eskom’s ranks. We welcome the fact that he brings extensive experience, relevant qualifications in the power generation industry and has a good track record in his previous roles at Eskom.”

Nxumalo replaces Andrew Etzinger who has acted as head of generation for the past nine months.

steynl@businesslive.co.za